Make Learning Letter Sounds Fun By Using Home-made Letter Jars

Letter Jar Game used to learn letter sounds

Using letter jars will help children with early reading skills. It’s easy to make and fun to play. Perfect for home-school-ers / or preschoolers.


Letter Jar objects A,B,C,D,E,F

Ideas for objects beginning with the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Letter Jar Objects G,H,I,J,K

Ideas for objects beginning with the letters G, H, I, J, and K.

Letter Jar Objects L,M,N,O,

 Ideas for objects beginning with the letters L, M, N, and O.

letter jar objects P, Q, R, and S

Ideas for objects beginning with the letters P, Q, R, and S.

 Add a picture of your child. They love to be included.

Letter Jar Objects T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z

Ideas for objects beginning with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z.

Introduce one jar at a time: naming the objects and pointing out the beginning sound. Explain that all the objects that start with that sounds should go together in a jar. Some of the sounds will be easy for them to learn, others more difficult. Some of the letters conveniently say their sound: like D. Some letters are harder like G because they don’t say their sound.

When he or she seems to be able to name the objects, let children test themselves by getting out two jars at a time and mixing the objects. Then they have to sort them back out. If two jars is too easy, use three.

More advanced activities:

Letter Jar Objects Ch, Th, Wh, and Sh Sounds

Some letters can make more than one sound so you can use separate jars for these if you like. Also, it can be very helpful to have a F jar and a Ph jar. It’s also helpful to have a jar for wh, sh, ch, th and other common combination sounds. Some children learn better using this kind of hands-on game.

My Children loved these jars. They would ask to use them. The little nick-knacks are so interesting.

Hot to:

Find baby food jars or plastic containers from your recycle bin. Label each container with a letter or letter combination.

Fill the containers with whatever you can find. Hunt for little things such as might be in a Piñata, given in a party favor bag, or found at the bottom of a toy box. If you have kids, chances are, you have junk toys.

*Please be aware that I’m not suggesting that you should use these with children that still put things in their mouth.

Convert a Quad Chair Carrying Sack Into A Fun Doll Sleeping Bag

MYO Doll Sleeping bag

I had a quad chair bag that I wanted to get rid of but I don’t like to just throw things away. As I was looking it over I thought of the sleeping bag idea. It turned out to be the perfect size for my daughter’s 18inch dolls.

Quad Chair Carry Sack Before Converting to Sleeping Bag


Here is a quad chair carrying sack before being transformed into a cozy doll sleeping bag.

How to:

To Make the sleeping bag shell

1. You will notice that the chair carrying sack has a shoulder strap. Keep this strap attached at the top but cut it off near the bottom. I left the strap attached to the sleeping bag and used it as a feature of the finished sleeping bag.

Make your own doll sleeping Bag- rolled up

2. Next measure 22.5 inches from the top. Cut a straight line across the bag. You are cutting the bottom of the sack off; save it for making the sleeping bag stuff sack.

Make your own doll Sleeping Bag- the Shell

3. Turn inside out and stitch along the bottom edge. Use a half inch seam allowance.

4. Turn right side out.


 To make the sleeping bag lining and the padding layer

5. Cut a soft piece of fabric (for the lining) and a piece of on old blanket (for the padding). The pieces should measure 23 x 22 inches.

6. Put the lining on top of the blanket piece and fold in half. Folded size= 23 x 11 inches. Also, make sure the lining’s pretty side is facing inside. In other words, if you were to open the sleeping bag and look in, you should see the good side of the lining.

Make your own SleepingBag- child Sewing

My daughter did all the sewing and I did the design work.

7. Sew along two sides; the long side and the bottom. Use a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

8. Slip the lining into the shell. Make sure the seam edge is on the seam side of the shell. You will need to un-sew the bit where the slit is in the shell. See picture.

Make your own Sleeping Bag- the lining

9. Fold under raw edge and pin in place.

10. Hand or machine sew the lining to the shell all along the edge. Hand sewing a whip stitch is easier then machine sewing if you used a thick blanket for padding.

Make your own doll sleeping bag with stuff sack

To make the stuff sack for the doll sleeping bag:

1. Use the bottom piece of your chair carrying sack. Only the bottom 10 inches are needed so cut off the extra.

Make your own doll Sleeping Bag- the drawstring

2. Fold over the top edge about two inches and sew creating a channel about 3/8th of a inch wide. Leave a one inch gap in your stitch line as seen in picture B.

3. Find an old shoelace or cord. Using an awl or even a sharp pencil, poke two holes for the drawstring (shoelace or cord) to come out. It works best if you poke the hole from the back. The arrow in picture A indicates putting the awl up under there.

4. Attach a large safety pin onto one end of your shoe lace. Go under the flap in picture A and like a caterpillar, inch the safety pin all the way around and back out. Remove the safety pin.

5. Stick the ends of the shoe lace through the holes you made. One should come out each hole. Tie the ends of the shoe lace together. Pull the ends of the string to cinch the bag closed.


Doll in home-made sleeping bag

This sleeping bag fits American Girl dolls. I have no affiliation with American Girl.

Go Ahead And Make Your Own Ice Rink: It is Easy!

learn to ice skate on your own rink

Enjoy the convenience of an ice rink in your own yard!

Learn to skate on homemade ice rink

Learn to ice skate!

I made this ice rink thanks to a rather cold spell in our area. If it’s going to be cold, we like to make the best of it!

Invite friends! I’ve collected a stash of assorted sized second- hand ice skates, knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets for my kids and their friends to use.

I wanted our rink to be small enough to be easy to set up and take down and I needed it to be made with materials I already had.

back yard Ice Skating Rink


Salvaged 2 x 4’s, enough to go around the perimeter

Plastic (I had leftover plastic used as a moisture barrier under my house.)

Bricks or logs; used to hold the walls in place.

How to:

Find a very flat area on your property. Lay out your 2 x 4’s to make a rectangle. Size the rectangle so that it fits your plastic. Remember that the plastic needs to go up and over the 2 x 4’s. I didn’t stake the sides or even use hardware to attach the boards to each other. I just lined the boards up end to end. Then I placed the plastic over; pulling it very flat. Next I placed other scrap pieces of 2 x 4’s where ever there was a point where two boards were meeting up. I used logs to secure in place. All that was left was to add water and nature did the rest. When the weather warms up again, gather the boards and folded up the plastic and store for future fun.

If you are looking to make a big ice rink: I found this site recently and thought it had a lot of good tips.

Hawks Are After Our Free Range Chickens: Guilty Hawks Caught On Camera

Hawk with chicken prey 0206

Feb. 2006

Hawk hiding prey 0206

Feb. 2006

Our first experience with a hawk attack was a year or more after we first started raising chickens. A local farmer warned me that hawk(s) would eat my chickens like they eat all of his. I guess I thought he was being pessimistic. Our first spring summer and fall was free of predation of any kind. We were devastated when our first chicken, my children’s favorite chicken (named Duck) was killed by a hawk.

I heard the chickens squawking in panic so I ran outside to investigate. Sadly, the hawk had already killed our hen. I was surprised to find that the hawk did not fly away. Instead he held his ground not wanting to leave his prey behind. You see the chicken was too big for it to carry off. As I got closer, he opened a wing in an attempt to hide the prey. At least, that is what I think he was doing. Then it spread both wings to look bigger and to keep me away from the meal it hoped to eat. I was able to get very close to the hawk. After I determined that it was too late to save the chicken, I ran for my camera. I love nature so I was very excited to be able to observe a hawk so closely but I was heart broken because our chickens were like pets. Lesson learned.

This chicken was a Buff Orpington and was supper sweet. My daughters loved them the very best because of their sweet trusting manner.

Hawk protecting prey 0206

Feb. 2006   I believe this hawk is a red tailed hawk. Any experts out there? I noticed that he is banded.


Hawk in tree 0208

Feb. 2008

Hawk on chicken coop 0208

Feb. 2008

A year later I caught another hawk on camera.

We came home (Southern Maryland) one afternoon in Feb. and found our chickens again in a panic. I went in the hen yard and discovered this hawk under the hen house. I believe it is a Cooper’s hawk. (Does anyone know how I can tell for sure it isn’t a sharp-shinned hawk?) One of our chickens, Raven a black Australorp, (a sweet hen that does all the raising of the chicks) was trying to hide from the hawk but apparently the hawk went under there after it. The hawk had its talons securely attached to the side of the chicken’s head. Despite my screaming and crazy arm swinging, it didn’t fly away. I had to pry its talons, one by one off my chicken. Only then did it fly away. It didn’t go far; it didn’t even leave the hen yard until we chased it off; by then my kids were helping. These guys are persistent I tell you! Good news though, my chicken came out of it fine.

Hawk hungry for chicken 1209

Dec. 2009

Hungry Hawk back view1209

Dec. 2009

My daughter heard the chickens making a lot of noise and I ran out to find this guy had a buff Orpington. I thought she was dead but after scaring the hawk away, which isn’t easy, the hawk first tried to drag the hen away with him, the chicken than sprang back to life. She made a complete recovery. I think this is another red-tailed hawk.

Usually if a hawk comes around hunting and I know about it, I gather the chickens and lock them up in their henhouse/ run/ chicken shelter combo. Usually I let the chickens free range in a very large fenced in area. I use a fence because they dig up my landscaping and eat plants I don’t want them too etc.. Also, the fence keeps out the occasional stray dog. I usually keep them locked up for a day or two after because the hawk is sure to come back. I’ve seen them boldly strutting around the hen yard; looking for the prey it almost had.

We lose about one chicken a year to hawks and I thwart one or two more attempts each year. I know what to look for and listen for. I can tell by the way they act or by the sounds they make if a threat is around. Unless you are willing to completely cage your animals, and I’m not, you have to accept the possibility of loss.

We no longer name all our chickens. Also, we’ve decided against getting any more Buff Orpington chickens because they seem to be particularly vulnerable but if you have a large completely enclosed living area, they would be great. I think I’ll try hanging aluminum pie pans in the trees to help keep the hawks away. Maybe I’ll try putting out a fake owl too.

Like Two Peas In A Pot Valentine Craft: A Plant Your Own Peas Kit

Two Peas Valentine Gift Craft

Make one for mom/ Dad/ Grandparents … My daughter gave out one for each of her classmates one year.

Two Peas In A Pot Valentive Gift

[This is a craft project that I developed a few years ago and I’m just now getting around to sharing –Best, Hester Jane]

Here is a child’s Valentine gift that does not include candy.

How To:

Collect empty milk or juice cartons; the kind kids get at school with their lunches. Then wash them out.

Cut out pictures of pea plants from old seed catalogs and paste them onto the outside of the milk carton/pot.

Add dry potting soil and drop in two pea seeds. Alternatively you can place the pea seeds in a mini envelope/ Valentine card.

Staple the top closed.

Save straws (optional) if doing this project for home. Don’t waste a new straw; reuse a straw that would otherwise be on its way to a landfill. The straw becomes a support as the pea plant grows taller.

Print Valentines or design your own.

Valentines for juice cartons

Valentines for milk cartons or seed envelopes